Bilkis Bano Case and 11 convicted Gang Rapists released
- Understanding the current situation of women in the country has become a little difficult to understand.
- In 2015 a new campaign was launched for women empowerement-
BETI BACHAO and Bilkis Bano Case Judgment
- Women felt that finally some steps will be taken for our safety and security in this country.
- But the data speaks otherwise.
- More girls are being born but there has been 70% increase in rape cases from 2001 to 2018.
RAPE CASES IN INDIA
- IN 2001- 11.6 CASES PER ONE LAKH WOMEN
- IN 2018- 19.8 CASES PER ONE LAKH WOMEN
- SO VIOLENCE AND CRIME AGAINST WOMEN IS STILL INCREASING!!
RAPE CASES IN INDIA
- Only 10% Cases Complete Trial In India
- In 80% Cases Offenders Get Free
- Some People Don’t Believe In Justice System, Accused Is Known To Victim, Allegations Are Withdrawn Or Compromise Is Done Or They Believe Legal Process Is Complicated
- India’s ranking in women, peace and security index in 2021 is 148/170 countries
- We are placed lower compared to countries like Bangladesh and Nigeria.
So what is this Bilkis Bano Case? And why were the convicts released?
What kind of law is this under which 11 convicted Gang Rapists can get released?
- Article 72 and 161 of the Indian Constitution gives The President and Governor the power to pardon, suspend, remit or commute a sentence passed by court.
- Since prison is a state subject, state government has the same power under Section 432 CrPC to remit sentences.
- But there are certain rules for remission as well.
- Death sentence cannot be remitted.
- Section 433A CrPC- Where a sentence of death imposed on a person has been commuted under section 433 into one of imprisonment for life, such person shall not be released from prison unless he had served at least fourteen years of imprisonment.
- As per remission policy, prisoners are released on birth or death anniversaries of prominent leaders and other important occasions.
- Like it was 75th anniversary of Independence Day.
- Women and transgender prisoners above the age of 50, male convicts above the age of 60, terminally ill convicts.
- Such people who cannot go and commit an offence after going back in the society and on the basis of good behaviour can get remission.
- Rule says that rapists, money launderers and murderers cannot be released.
How come 11 rape convicts got released in Bilkis Bano case?
- So the question is despite this rule
- State govt panel says that they studied the case and the remission application was considered on the parameters of 14 yrs in jail, nature of crime, age, behaviour in prison etc.
- The Incident dates back to 3rd March 2002, in Randhikpur Village Gujarat.
- 17 people were escaping the riots in a truck and were being chased by a jeep. The truck was stopped by this jeep. Bilkis Bano was present in the truck who was pregnant at that time and her 3 year old child.
- The child was killed on spot in front of mother. Bilkis Bano, her mother and her cousin were gang raped and 14 other people were killed. They thought Bilkis also died so they left her there. But Bilkis was alive and later on she went to her husband and told her all this.
- She was not able to talk also after this incident. But after the help of Ngos, and other people she became a fighter, a survivor and because the criminals were her neighbours and she knew them she was able to identify them.
- Case went on for years after this. The Administration and system were supporting the criminals. FIR was manipulated, medical reports were manipulated, evidences were destroyed, and these all are facts. Infact Bilkis’s 3 year old daughter who was killed, her body also disappeared.
- Lower court heard this and closed the case. But Bilkis kept fighting. Bilkis went to NHRC then. Supreme Court again reopened the case then in 2004 and the case was transferred to CBI.
- Later case was transferred to Mumbai from Gujarat. As there was pressure in Gujarat.
- Finally out of 20 accused, 12 were arrested. Here Bilkis was the only witness and always under threat. So she kept changing address.
- 1 person died during the trial.
- In 2008, 11 people got convicted and were given Life Imprisonment. The doctors and police involved in this case were also let go saying that they did not do any manipulation or fudging of reports.
- Bilkis fought against this also. Finally then in 2017, Doctors and Police were also held guilty.
- Court awarded Bilkis Bano 50 lakh compensation . So ultimately it felt like justice has been delivered and Bilkis continued with her life.
- And suddenly she got to know that her rapists has been released. She had no prior information of this.
- Now was the law manipulated here? The same can happen to anyone. Gujrata govt had formulated a new policy for remission in the year 2014. There is an annexure which clearly says that who can get the remission and who cannot. That clearly says that Prisoners who have been convicted for a crime for which investigation was done by Central govt or any agency that has been made by the central govt or made under Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, which includes CBI as well, in those cases remission is not possible.
- Persons convicted for rape, murder, gang rape are also not eligible for remission.
- There was an old policy of Gujarat state for remission of 1992 which did not have such exemptions. Under that anybody can get remissions. So that policy was used here because Gujarat state said that CBI gave judgement in the year 2008 so this case can’t get treated as per 2014 policy.
- Expired policy was used and these 11 people were released.
How can you use 1992 remission policy in Bilkis Bano?
- When Modi Government had ended it.
- The loophole was made in the law
- Section 435 CrPC- . State Government to act after consultation with Central Government in certain cases- If the case investigation was done by an agency of Central govt as CBI, the State govt has to first consult with Central govt before giving remission.
- Investigation was done by CBI so you should have consulted them.
- How can prisoners convicted of such heinous offence be released?